The song was released on June 6, 2011, to rock radio. No physical CD single was released; it is only a digital downloadable single. The song reached number one on the BillboardRock Songs chart on July 20, 2011, dethroning the album's previous single "Rope", giving the band their third number one single on the chart - the most on the chart so far. On February 12, 2012, the song won two awards at the 54th Grammy Awards for Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song. They also performed the song live at the Grammys.
According to Dave Grohl, he came up with the verse about "having a trial" after the time he was helping his first daughter Violet Maye on "learning to walk", and eventually she was able to walk on her own. The song was supposed to be on the previous studio album Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, but Dave decided to put the final version as the last track of Wasting Light because it "sort of makes sense to the album's theme of time and second chances" and to "end the record on a positive note". Grohl added that the optimistic tone was a reminiscence on how bad he felt after Kurt Cobainkilled himself and wanting others to realize "in life, you get trapped in crisis, where you imagine there’s no way out. When really, if you dare to consider that crisis a blip on the radar, it’s easier to push through. And, yeah, I was just like, ‘I don’t want anyone to have that feeling that I had that morning.’ ” Pat Smear, who played with Grohl and Cobain in Nirvana, considers "Walk" and its lyrics about enjoying life an antithesis to the Nirvana song "I Hate Myself and Want to Die".
WWE used "Walk" to highlight Edge twice where it was first heard in a video package for his induction into the 2012 WWE Hall of Fame, and again at the conclusion of the WWE 24 documentary episode "Edge: The Second Mountain".